BTI Participates in MedPAN’s Workshop on Managing Tourism in Marine Protected Areas

April 17th, 2024 | La Londe-les-Maures, France

On April 17, 2024, the Blue Tourism Initiative joined MedPAN’s regional experience-sharing workshop in La Londe-les-Maures, France. The focus of this year’s workshop was ‘Managing Tourism in Marine Protected Areas’. BTI partners, IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med) and IDDRI were present in most of the nine thematic sessions of the programme, contributing with their expertise to discussions on how to balance tourism with marine and coastal ecosystem conservation.

During the morning session, Arnau Teixidor, Ecosystem Resilience and Spatial Planning Programme Manager at IUCN-Med, contributed to the session on ‘Assessing and Managing Tourism Massification and Overcrowding in Marine Protected Areas’. He presented BTI’s initial findings from its blue tourism diagnosis performed in the Mediterranean region, highlighting market trends, key challenges and opportunities. Additionally, the session showcased mapping work done in collaboration with ETC-UMA, which examined ecosystem vulnerability to coastal and marine tourism pressures.

The presentation suggested some key recommendations distilled from the research done so far by BTI in the Mediterranean:

  • Detailed analyses to identify Marine Protected Areas and other critical areas experiencing high tourism pressure are needed.
  • The effective management of MPAs can be strengthened through tools such as the IUCN Green List, a standard to assess and improve management effectiveness and good governance in protected territories.
  • Engaging tourism governance structures, such as Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), Tourism Boards, and National Tourism Associations is key to driving change.

In the afternoon, Angelo Sciacca, Senior Research Fellow at IDDRI and project coordinator of the Blue Tourism Initiative, co-facilitated a session on ‘Strengthening Cross-sector Collaboration through Networks’. This symposium focused on the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and interdisciplinary collaborations to improve Marine Protected Areas management in the Mediterranean region. Representatives from various established networks, such as the Local2030 Islands Network, the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR), Plan Bleu, MedCities, HyPro4ST, the MEET Network, the Mediterranean Posidonia Network (MPN), and the MPA Collaborative Network, participated in this session, emphasising the need for collective action to address tourism’s impact on marine ecosystems. 

Link to the Agenda here.